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Assessment of Needs

Assessment of Needs

Not all children and families will need the same level of support, or Short Breaks Services.  Some will need more than others because of the nature of their child’s disability, or the effect it has on normal day-to-day activities.

This is why we may need to assess your child and families needs to be able to provide the Short Breaks Services at the right time.

Assessments can be brief depending on the nature of the circumstances.   In some cases it may be sufficient to decide the nature of any services required.  In others it may determine that  a single assessment is required.

Our aim is that the level of assessment is proportionate to the apparent level of need of the family and to ensure that the welfare of the child is safeguarded.

The Children’s Act 1989 defines a child with a disability as a Child in Need (CIN).   As such local authorities have a responsibility under legal framework  to assess the impact of any disability on family life by considering:

  • The child’s developmental needs
  • The parents’ parenting capacity
  • Family and environmental factors


Local authorities also have a duty to assess the needs of carers taking account of their wishes to undertake work, education, training or leisure activities.  Assessments typically consist of an analysis of need, judgement and decision making and may be one or more of the following:

  • Self-Assessment
  • Carers Assessment
  • Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
  • Single Assessment

There may be occasions when situations arise that have a significant effect on your immediate ability to provide care for your child with a disability.  In these circumstances please contact the Social Care Teams who will assess the need for support.

How do I Arrange an Assessment?

Families are legally entitled to request a formal assessment of their individual circumstances and this assessment should precede any decisions made regarding allocation of services.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF) Assessments can be completed by a Lead Professional from one of the following:

  • General Practitioners, Health Centres,  Child Development Centre, School Nurses & Primary Care Trust
  • Nurseries, Pre-Schools, Lower, Middle and Upper Schools and Colleges
  • Voluntary Sector Organisations
  • Social Care Workers
  • Intensive Family Support Service

Child in Need (CIN) and Carer Assessments can be arranged by Social Care Teams who can be contacted  through our Multi Agency Support Hub by telephoning: 01234 718700


What Happens Next?

Once a Lead Professional or Social Care Worker has been identified they will arrange to conduct a formal assessment of your needs and refer you to the appropriate services.

Some referrals will be made to Resource Allocation Panels who will use the assessment to identify a tailored package of Short Breaks Services which can meet your individual needs

Right to Appeal

Families and individuals have a right to appeal the assessment of their needs.  This can be discussed with the Lead Professional or Social Worker who has undertaken the assessment.